Today marks the year anniversary of a friend who I lost to suicide. My facebook and twitter feeds have been filled with remembrance messages and stories of his life. Losing someone to suicide is one of the hardest things to go through but there is a huge misconception surrounding the reasons why someone may be driven to suicide.
I appreciate that this is all part of the grieving process but why do people feel anger after? People don’t truly understand the pain you must be in to attempt suicide, fighting the pain is the hardest thing I will ever do. It is not so simple as giving in. Dying by suicide is caused by mental illness just like dying from trauma caused by a car crash, except with one difference. In a car crash the dead are not blamed for not being able to survive. They are not blamed for being there. And they are not blamed for the grieving process. Why is suicide any different?
Stigma is what kills most people. The stigma of asking for help. Of having a mental illness. Of not enjoying life. But stigma is also the reason why people are blamed for losing their fight with mental illness. The lack of understanding around mental illness means that many people shun it’s existence. But guess what people, it does exist!
It is coming to the end of children’s mental health awareness week but I think it is important for people to realise that everyone is affected by mental illness, not just children, not just adults. It may be your best friend or your parent, your child or your sister; you don’t know until you start up the conversation. So why don’t you start? Simply saying “I have been feeling a bit down lately” opens up a flow of communication which could ultimately save someone’s life.